It’s staggering to think how far the online gambling industry has come in such a short space of time. In the last twenty years, internet casinos have gone from being a novelty to a worldwide phenomenon. The industry is worth more than $70 billion in 2022 and is expected to exceed $92 billion next year.
Businesses continue to find lucrative opportunities within the online casino sector, and the successful ones are those that innovate and push its evolution forward. In the past, slots were the primary focus of inventive developers, and they still are to an extent. But we are now witnessing a greater focus on live casinos, and this could be considered the area with the greatest potential in the future.
Live Casino Offerings Have Become Incredibly Expansive
Online casinos initially introduced live casino games so that players could enjoy classic table offerings without having to worry about the fairness of RNG in virtual titles. The idea behind online casinos was always to bring the real casino experience to players in their own homes, and the live streaming of table games was a perfect way to do that.
Live streaming was introduced at some sites a decade ago, but the popularity of this game category really blew up after Facebook introduced the technology in 2016 and it went mainstream. Since then, it has become an essential inclusion of online casinos. Sites like Paddy Power’s online casino that were already well established have used this increase in interest in live casino games as a way to broaden their offerings and provide a much more eclectic mix of games than in the early days.
Nowadays, live casino games go way beyond the familiar favorites like roulette and blackjack. These games still exist in abundance and there are loads of brand-new ways of playing them, but there are also some newfangled options that have appeared because of live streaming. For example, game shows such as Cash or Crash, Gonzo’s Treasure Hunt, and Mega Ball 100x are attracting loads of new players. There are also new ways of playing poker, with Side Bet City being an interesting twist on the traditional format.
Slots Used to be the Games with Unlimited Potential
Looking at all the casino games that have helped online casinos boom, it’s easy to see that slots have pushed the evolution of the industry the furthest. The reel-spinning games that exist today barely resemble the machines that were dominant in the past. Developers have had a lot of freedom to get inventive and push the games in a new direction. Since moving online, they have gained extra reels, rows, win lines, and mechanics. They also come in more themes than ever now, often related to other media.
It could still be argued that slots have the potential to evolve more in the future, but there could be a limit. There are new engines being introduced all the time, with Megaways being a prime example of a recent hit. It’s clear that studios want to do all they can to push the games forward, but it also feels like they can only go so far. No matter what innovations are introduced, the titles will still need to have spinning reels to be considered slot games. That makes it hard to envisage how they could look in virtual or augmented reality when these platforms become mainstream.
Considering these emerging technologies, live casino offerings could have a lot more scope for advancement in the future. It has already been seen with the game show options that live casino can stretch and expand way beyond the games that are traditionally associated with gambling.
Technology opens the door for new genres of game to emerge in live casino categories over the next few years. Offerings could even start to include elements of eSports or other entertainment options that are trending. While slots always must include spinning reels at their core, live casino games are free to evolve in other directions and are not held back by anything. Therefore, live casino could now be considered the category with the greatest potential.
Could Live Casino Games Exist in their own Metaverses?
Recently, there has been a lot of talk about the concept of metaverses. These are virtual reality worlds that could transcend the internet in its current form. Indeed, the metaverse is the next generation of the online world.
A lot of the hype is around how it could change the way we socialize, with people being able to meet in VR settings. This is the plan of Meta, with Mark Zuckerberg set on conquering this new format early. Inputmag described how part of that plan is to buy as many VR companies as possible.
The entertainment industry is likely to undergo a huge shakeup when VR goes mainstream and metaverses become the new normal. Some games such as Minecraft and Roblox already exist within their own metaverses, and VR is likely to expand on these ideas further. It could bring a whole new meaning to the concept of open-world gaming, with players having the chance to explore vast landscapes and do anything they choose.
Online casinos could easily have their own metaverses that are packed full of live offerings. This feels like the direction they’ve been heading in ever since they were first conceived. There has already been a VR roulette game developed, and if this could be combined with a live dealer it could be an unprecedented hit. Now, imagine if all the casino games underwent this treatment. Players would effectively be able to walk around VR casinos, going from table to table. Live game shows could be particularly interesting in this scenario, perhaps giving players the chance to feel like participants on a television series.
Live casino is the category to watch in the future. It has so much potential to integrate new technology and could bring about a new era in the online casino industry. Slots used to be considered the most progressive offerings, but they may have lost that mantle to live casino games now.